Courage Mon Brave!

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Once upon a time I was a secretary. I could sit politely with my legs crossed prettily at the ankle and take the minutes of a meeting in shorthand. Sometimes I would even be able to read it back and type it up, mostly however, I’d wail pitifully as I struggled to make out even the names of the people who had attended the meeting. I tried once just making it up, but when the minutes were distributed later to the apparent attendees, it caused much confusion for everyone, especially those who weren’t there.

Oh I tried. I tried to be organised, but my filing systems were less of a system and more of a random putting things, frankly, anywhere. My desk was an extension of my in-tray, papers spilling over until the floor also was used as a workable space. Making mistakes whilst booking hotels and hire cars for my various bosses over the years resulted in many an irate repercussion. Apparently CEOs don’t appreciate sharing twin rooms even if there is a saving in cost, and admittedly I hadn’t thought through how five directors and their luggage could fit into something the size of a Smart car.

Oh the anguish! And I had more jobs than most people have changed their socks, trying desperately to find something, somewhere that I was even marginally good at, least of all enjoyed. How I tried … and yet, that funny little phrase about trying to fit a square peg into a round hole springs to mind.

And now, now I loathe paperwork probably even more than ever before but thankfully I manage to bribe The Colonel to do some of the more arduous tasks on my behalf … well, ok, for me.

My point in all of this, is that I’ve noticed of late that several of my friends here are having a change of direction in their careers and jobs, or at least pondering hard over it. And for that I heartily commend you! Don’t make my mistake, doing a job because it’s what you think you should be doing, because it’s what is expected. I can’t bear little whipper-snappers with no life experience telling me how to have a goal, make a plan, commit and do it, but this old bird has got more experience under her belt in this area, than there are bedbugs in a dodgy hotel room.

Do what makes you happy … and then tell us all about it!

Katie xx

What is your job? Do you love it or like it? Does it just pay the bills or do you bounce out of bed in the morning to get to it?

36 thoughts on “Courage Mon Brave!”

  1. I loved this post. I share your experiences of taking minutes too 🙂

    You already know my feelings on this Katie. Sadly my wife would have a different view on my ‘doing what makes me happy’ if the salary stopped arriving…..

    I effectively have three jobs in the same department – analytical chemist, QA manager and database administrator. Any of the above should really be full time but I don’t much enjoy any of them – and especially having to juggle them and change mental gears several times a day.

    So yes, I am one of those planning the great escape!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think I can hear the music of The Great Escape … And I don’t blame you. I hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel? You are a talent, an absolute talent and it would be great shame to hide your light under a bushel. You’re one of the good people out there and deserve so much my friend. X

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I temped as a secretary after uni and hated it! It was such a stifling, sexist and hierarchical world!

    I have been a very happy speech and language therapist for nineteen years. I love the variety in my job, that you can specialise in very different areas, and that I have magic moments with people every day. I have always wanted to be a writer of course, but speech and language therapy has given me a steady career and opened up a writing opportunity for me.

    I think we have many paths we could take – that is what makes life exciting and unpredictable!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. You sound just like me, which is worrying given I am still a PA…. In a private household, very lovely people but God knows I must give them some real headaches on a much too frequent basis. Well, this isn’t me and it never was what I wanted to do. Now that I’m feeling fairly confident (as much as you can be I guess) in my sobriety, I’m slowly finding my way towards things I actually love and care about. Working my way towards becoming an addiction counsellor is a possibility and I am also gearing up, as you know, to give the writing a shot now that I’m lucid and coherent again. 🙂

    Here’s to new beginnings! So glad I stopped drinking and can FINALLY grab life by the collar. Hold on to your hats!


    Liked by 2 people

  4. From your descriptions of a secretary it sounds like something I’d be good at, I love organising stuff! Anyway, to answer your questions Katie, I think there are widely speaking three options. 1. Do something that pays the bills but doesn’t really make you happy. 2. Do something that you have something of an interest and aptitude in, and doesn’t cause too much stress, then continue to commit time to family and other passions in your free time 3. Go all out for your deepest passions, regardless of practicalities.

    It takes a great deal of courage to do number 3, and is easier when you’re younger and free from dependents. But people do it, and all credit to them.

    I’m most like scenario 2- my role as a team manager in a local authority is challenging and rewarding to an extent, without being overly stressful. It’s reasonably secure and the money is enough to get by, and I don’t really take the work home (certainly not physically, but not really mentally either). Then when I’m not working or sleeping I spend time with family, going for walks or bike rides and photographing, a bit of yoga, reading, music and films, and write for my blog.

    I would like more income streams (which I’ve had in the past in some ways) and to be more independent and not be reliant on an employer. But for now I’m happy enough and have a huge amount to be grateful for. In the future hopefully there’ll be a time when I need less income so can do a job that is more suited to my outdoor interests, like perhaps a National Trust gardener or something, who knows.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I reckon you’ve got the best of both worlds and a balance that satisfies so many needs. Most people would love to have this! It’s hard to find that balance with so many pulls from so many angles … this is good to hear that it’s possible. I’m so happy for you!


      1. Yes, as I said, I have much to be thankful for. Some years back I really got into coaching and for a while had clients and so on, though I never fully gave up a day job. I just feel I’ve given up a bit on that, and if I had more income streams and was in more control of my work I’d feel better still.


      2. Yes, I think these things take time and also a huge amount of backup. For years I was running two jobs whilst bringing up my two boys and things were pretty tight. It took a massive leap of faith and a certain element of hope as well (!) before I was able to lead the life that I wanted. I’m a firm believer that anything is possible, but is made all the more easy with someone behind you, to encourage all the way, and help pick up the pieces if it all goes horribly wrong.


  5. Goodness, I picked up in typing fast and using word processors quickly when I was younger. Of course people, including myself, thought I would do well in a job field where I was basically sitting at a desk in front of a computer all day. I tried those kinds of jobs before, and my god, I loathed it. It was also terrible for my mental health. Being more active with exercise and getting my heartrate up nowadays, I realized just how much a sedentary lifestyle impacted my mood swings. And I still remember the stress of having to focus on all those numbers and names staring back at me on the computer screen. Sitting still like that all day for a job had my dermatillomania acting up too. For the job field I am studying towards in February, I’ll definitely have a more active role in being on my feet during work hours and less about being left to my own devices at a desk where everything usually goes wrong for me inside my head.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can totally relate to this. Thank goodness you were able to see how detrimental it was to you. I had to just look up dermatillomania which I’d never come across before, and I send you huge hugs … It sounds like you’re on the right path and well done to you for breaking free of what was so unhealthy for you. We’re all different, but I too couldn’t sit looking at a screen all day. Huge hugs xxx


  6. Being a tax accountant is ending just as Brexit countdown commences. There must be a sign in there somewhere. But I have enjoyed my career : from a winebar loving London banker in the 80’s through underpaid overworked management accountant in drafty factories, to a burning the midnight oil as a tax accountant running my own business. The latter I started in 2006 and this year I will archive the career to paint and write. Funnily I wanted to do this when I was 5. Parents had other ideas. Well they are not here now to judge, so I am indulging myself. I am a little daunted by this new journey. I am also sad I hadn’t been more insistent to follow this path years ago. I few missed chances. I won’t miss this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so, so happy for you. This is everything that you want and deserve … I can understand the sadness of not having done it before, I too wish that I’d followed my dreams all those years ago. Parents have a way of being terribly sensible, but sometimes rather missing the point. Good luck, and as my mother used to say to me, “Courage mon brave”. Xx


    1. Oooh this is so exciting for you … well done, well done to you indeed for making that change. You clearly have strength, huge inner strength to have managed to do it. The world really is your oyster now! Have you any ideas as to what you’d like to do? Xxx


  7. Great message! The secret of course is not to quit the current job until you have one that can pay the bills 😉 I am very fortunate to do what I love – writing – full time. Life is flying by and we might as well be spending a heck of a lot of time in a career we love xo

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I had a profession but had to abruptly change when life changed. Now I have to find work which fits round my son. Money is pants but I am so less stressed out, probably got my priorities right for the first time in my life. I think the key is you don’t know what’s round the corner, do whatever you need to do to give yourself the happiest lifestyle.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. End of 2016 I’ve quit my research job, and in the spring of 2017, I started for myself (from scratch), my online businesses from home (I help build online merchant businesses for Belgian partners). Ever since there is only uphill and pays far more than just the bills. My wife also works for herself. She used to do different type of jobs, but mine got so extended and intense, I had to bring her in, training her into for full involvement.

    Liked by 1 person

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